Using Beads As Cabochons

I finished these etched silver and green pearl earrings recently and took the opportunity yesterday when the sun came out to take a few photos. I used some of the silver I etched recently using nail art stamps and decided to try bezel setting some pearl beads I've had for absolutely years. Yes I did say beads! I bought the beads years ago from "somewhere" (can't remember). They were described as button pearls and they were shaped kind of like cabochons with a slight dome on one side and a flat base on the other and obviously had holes. Some of them were very flat on one side and very domed on the other which is what gave me the idea to use them as cabs.

This photo of a few of the beads was taken under a day light bulb so the colours are a bit off but they are all lovely icy pastel shades of pink, green, apricot, pale blue, purple and grey which look great contrasted with oxidized copper and silver. I sorted through them and removed the ones whose holes were too high to work but as you can see once they are sanded a bit on the bottom the holes will be low enough for the bezel to cover up giving me a lot of very nice pearls to add to my jewellery. I couldn't believe the price of pearl cabs when I looked so I'm really glad I kept hold of these. The only downside is they aren't all exactly the same size and height like cabs but are near enough for it not to matter. Saying that a lot of the cabs I buy are slightly different sizes and heights too!

I'm really proud of these earrings and think I am slowly getting a bit more adventurous! I am still conquering my fear of soldering on the "fiddly bits" - hanging loops, jump rings, etc. I soldered the loops on this pair before I soldered on the bezels to make life easier. My max flame butane torch did start playing up and wouldn't light again after I turned it off after the first soldering. I'd just filled it too so I have no idea what is wrong with it. I managed with my mini butane torch after swearing at the max flame quite a bit.

••• A Completely Different Subject •••
Am I the only person who watches the Strictly results show on Sunday nights and didn't realize it wasn't live? I started to get a bit suspicious after noticing members of the audience in exactly the same seats wearing exactly the same clothes on both nights and thought it was a bit odd..... also I started to look closely at the celebrity dancers' hair and make up to see if it was a bit different on the Sunday night and they always looked exactly the same as they did on Saturday nights. So I Googled it earlier today and found out the Sunday night shows are recorded after the phone lines are closed and the votes are in on Saturday nights. 
Funny what you think about......... :D


  1. Your silver and pearl earrings are lovely! I have recently been thinking of using coin pearls as cabs too. Ya beat me to the punch, lol. I am still going to give it a shot though. Thanks for the tips!

  2. Gorgeous earrings and lovely pearls. I have similar pearls that are side drilled like that. They take some thought to figure out how best to use them!

  3. I would never be able to tell you had a fear of soldering the fiddly bits! Your work is so clean and so nicely finished :)

  4. Thanks for your comments.
    The pearl beads have withstood many sorting out and throwing away sessions but something always made me keep them.

    Em - I think my fear partly comes from making a mess when I'm soldering small bits so I take extra care!

  5. Oh Tracy, these are gorgeous! Your attention to detail is second to none. I've been looking at some of my coin beads and pondering whether I could set them in a cabochon setting. You have inspired me to have a go.

    I love following your blog and seeing what you have got up to recently. I am looking forward to seeing the outcome of your casting. Some of the students on my course are doing that but I haven't looked into how to go about it.

    All the best
    Kristin :)

  6. Thanks Kristin.
    The pendant I'm making from the cast silver is getting there slowly. I have trouble soldering at jewellery class as the light is quite bad and I can't always see if the solder has flowed properly so usually have to sort things out at home!

  7. Yes, I have a similar problem at my class although mine is to do with the difference in torches. At home I am using a little butane handheld torch which I am getting more used to controlling the heat. Then at my course they have propane torches and the flame is so different. I tend to leave all my soldering for home and go to my class to pick my tutor's brain about new processes and discuss any issues I am having at home. She is invaluable, she should have a hotline that I could use anytime I have a question!
    All the best
    K :)

  8. What a perfect way to use button pearls! I have used these shapes before but they can look odd strung. You do such beautiful work.


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